Election odds

Janina Stajic

May 27 Column

Monday, May 27 2013

I have to admit the last provincial election was barely a blip on my radar. Of course I voted I always do, if only to honour the women who fought so hard to get me that right to vote. But I have to say the only question that was on my lips after the results came in was one that’s already been asked by a fellow Gabriolan, “What exactly will it take to get voters engaged enough to vote?” Although I don’t have the answer, I do have a proposal. What if we put the onus on our politicians and their bevy of talented marketing and communications gurus and incorporate into our elections system a rule that 70% of the voting public must cast a ballot or the election shall be null and void. And no, I’m not suggesting that we introduce mandatory voting. I’m suggesting our politicians need to make our democracy so alive and real and relevant to the lives of everyday people that they will WANT to come out and vote. That they will tune into election debates in the same way they tune in to Downtown Abbey or CSI episodes, and be as excited about heading to the polling stations as they would be to go on a holiday or to their favourite concert. How would the politicians achieve this? Again - I have no idea and it’s not my job to figure that out. It is in fact the job of our politicians – especially if they want to continue to say that they work in a democratic system which according to my Oxford English Dictionary  is ‘a system of government by the whole population’ not by 23%. The only way that will happen though is if the system is changed – because the odds in the current one are definitely on the side of the politicians.